How South is “The Southernmost” Point
Key West holds a prestigious honor as it is the ” southernmost point” in the continental United States. Despite being given the famous name, there is controversy surrounding the label given a number of necessary disclaimers. For visitors, though, a cement buoy marks the “southernmost” point in the nation where they can take photos and make their own claim to fame.
The first issue with claiming Key West the southernmost point is that Hawaii is the southernmost state. “Continental” or “Contigent” will almost always precede the claim in formal declarations, but rarely will that be the case in personal anecdotes. Ka Lae (translated to “the point”) is the southernmost point across all 50 states.
A second problem with the claim is that the mark for the southernmost point is not actually the furthest south American soil goes. There are a number of disconnected islands that lay further south than Key West, but their relatively undeveloped nature keeps them from gathering the same attention. The point that should probably hold claim is a spot within the Key West Naval Air Station. For security reasons, that is obviously not available to the public.
Regardless of the facts, the claimed southernmost point has played a vital part in how Key West has developed. The Southernmost Point monument (a cement buoy) was a key piece in the islands development with various hotels, restaurants, bars, etc. all playing off the theme.